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Event Details
  • Writer-Producer Speed Date (do not purchase until accepted)
    April 25, 2021
    2:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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Writer-Producer Virtual Speed Date 04-25-21

We're Zooming ahead into the Virtual World - Speed Date has been reformatted for Zoom! More tech, less noise – each writer will be in an individual breakout room with each of our 11+ producers. And since we have no venue costs, we've lowered the application fee by $10.

Sunday April 25th, 2021 - submission deadline 04/15
Session 1: coaching at 2:30, pitching at 4:30 (there will be an hour wait time between coaching and pitching)
Session 2: coaching at 3:30, pitching at 5:30 (there will be an hour wait time between coaching and pitching)

You meet a producer at a party, and have two minutes to interest him in your work. Do you have the skill to sell yourself? Here's a chance to practice your pitching with real producers who are open to and interested in meeting you. Okay, they probably won't option you on the spot, but they'll give you valuable feedback about your work and your ability to talk about it. And you'll have the opportunity to start developing a relationship. And that's what this business is all about. Relationships.

The Speed Date is the only event I know of that gives writers the chance to meet high level producers one-on-one in a room. To me, that's what makes the Speed-Dates so valuable. And you do it with kindness, which I value in life. ~Vincent Amelio (How Alfo Learned to Love)

Click here: WriterSpeedDateApp-85-75(new) for application (and note that actual pricing is $10 less than the application says, during these virtual days). Please fill out and email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com (PLEASE - add your name to the document name, and put it first when you "save as").

We'll have eleven producers lined up, from both the commercial and not-for-profit worlds, all with an interest in new projects; we also may have eleven aspiring producers from our Producer Development program. So you'll be pitching to as many as 22 producers in total! Come with a willingness to learn, because the real value is the chance to practice your pitching. And you'll be getting invaluable coaching from experts, as well.

Confirmed producers include:

  • Margot Astrachan, producer (Diana, The Prom, A Gentleman's Guide..., Ghost the musical, Around the World in 80 Days, Nice Work If You Can Get It, On a Clear Day...);
  • Charlotte Cohn, producer (Church and State, Handle with Care, Rated P for Parenthood);
  • Merrie L. Davis, producer (Company London revival and Broadway, Eclipsed, Gigi; off-Broadway Himself and Nora);
  • Sharon Fallon/Sharon Fallon Productions, general manager, theatrical consultant, producer (IndecentBeautiful Broadway, London & National Tour, Matilda The Musical, Lysistrata Jones);
  • William Franzblau, producer (Rocktopia, Tony Award-nominated Say Goodnight GracieAmerican Buffalo and Wonderland on Broadway; tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical; off-Broadway Sistas, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the MusicalRespect, Illuminate);
  • Sue Gilad/In Fine Company, producer (Moulin Rouge, Angels in America, Jagged Little Pill, Company, Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812; M. Butterfly; Disaster! The Musical; Significant Other. Upcoming: The Outsiders. Off-Broadway: The Other Josh Cohen);
  • John Lant, indie producer, director, consultant (14 off-Broadway shows - Frankenstein, Wicked Frozen, It Came from Beyond, Teen Party Massacre, Wicked City Blues, Fabulous), producing artistic director Write Act Repertory LA & NYC (18 years);
  • Jennifer Manocherian, producer (Meteor Shower, Dead Accounts, Nice Work If You Can Get It, The Mountaintop, War Horse, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, August: Osage County);
  • Sue Marks, producer (The Inheritance, Becoming Nancy, Company, The Prom, The Other Josh Cohen; upcoming: The Outsiders);
  • Tamra Pica, producer and casting director for Write Act Repertory, and the new Park Performing Arts Center’s (PPAC) in Union City, NJ;
  • Jonathan Pollard, producer (Broadway: All Shook Up; off-Broadway: Disenchanted!, Dai (enough), The Thing About Men, Over the River and Through the Woods, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change);
  • Markus Potter, theatre director, Artistic Director of Kansas Repertory Theatre, Founding Producing Artistic Director of NewYorkRep, Co-Producer of the Velocity of Autumn on Broadway.

Coaches: Emileena Pedigo, Samantha Saltzman, Joanne Zippel

Observing Producers: Iben Cenholt* of Rune Films, Maureen Condon*, Ryan Cupello*, Sarah Feingold*, Jesica Garrou*, Stephanie Grayson, Joe Nelms*, Michelle Roshanzamir*, Carley Santori*, Stephanie Schwartz, Eric Sirota*.

[*members and alumni of TRU's Producer Development program]


I really am impressed with the info and support from TRU. I've done several of these with [another] group. I quit last year. With you guys it's like you're setting us up for success, what a concept.
~Kurt Johns

I just wanted to relay a huge thanks to you and everyone at TRU for this experience, it was awesome! We really felt supported the whole way through, and we feel so much better prepared to market our show after getting the chance to practice pitching. If there's anywhere we can write a review or something for this experience, please let us know. And thank you and the rest of the team for all the tech effort behind this. ~Daniel Rosen & Alara Magritte

Just wanted to say “thanks” for your Herculean efforts in making the event so worthwhile.... Honestly, I much preferred pitching via Zoom than in person with everyone else within earshot. ~Sam Affoumado

I participated in TRU's Writer's Speed Date Pitch session last year, and got a LOT out of it! I found it so motivating to have a deadline to create production assets and prepare myself for meeting producers. My partner and I worked tirelessly for days before the event to make sure we were in top form before presenting (as writers) to the "producers" on hand. My experience was one of the rare occasions where several producers expressed real interest in my work. Later, one attended my reading, and followed up with a coffee meeting to talk financing. We're still in touch. Again, this is never promised, but it does happen for some of us. In my opinion, the price of $85 for all that value is a BARGAIN! ~Ed Zareh (Long Lost John)

I've had follow-up meetings with two people I met from the event. and provided scripts to three others. I also met some fellow playwrights, and through a chain of introductions coming out of that, I'm now working on a possible film deal in Los Angeles.  If you have a project where you'd like to practice and receive feedback on your pitch; potentially make some connections that would be useful for script development or early production; and meet some other playwrights – this is an ideal opportunity. ~William Roetzheim

Faculty
  • EMILEENA PEDIGO

    Emileena's work focuses on building sustainable careers #AnotherWay, using entrepreneurial strategies that prioritize the artist over their art.  Her company, The Show Goes On Productions provides coaching and artist management, as well as produces workshops, showcases, and events.  Before that Emileena was managing producer of the Midtown International Theater Festival.  She helped expand the annual festival into seven venues, presenting up to 60 shows in one month during her seven-year tenure.  Emileena also general-managed for several nonprofits, assisted Stewart F. Lane on four Broadway shows, including the Off-Broadway transfer of The 39 Steps, and worked on various film and music festivals.  She toured theaters, music arenas, and schools across the country, working with artists from all artistic disciplines.  Emileena has served on the board of Conscious Capitalism NYC, and is currently helping to build Arts programming within the Chelsea Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce.  She is a graduate of the Commercial Theatre Institute, SUNY/Kaufmann's Fasttrac program for entrepreneurs, and a Purdue University alum. 

  • SAMANTHA SALTZMAN

    Current Directing Projects: Drama League Gala Honoring Steve Martin, and Bryant Park Christmas Skatetacular. Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (1st National Tour).  Assistant Resident Director: Matilda the Musical (Broadway).   Additional Associate/Assistant Directing credits: Southern Comfort (The Public), Sarah Brightman’s Dreamchaser World TourOn the Town (Barrington Stage), An Iliad (National Tour), Academia Nuts, and multiple shows at NYMF and FringeNYC. Select Directing credits include: The Arkadina Project, Urinetown, 210 Amlent Ave, and Madam Fury’s Traveling Show. Drama League Directing Fellow. www.samanthasaltzman.com

  • JOANNE ZIPPEL

    is a collaborator and communicator who has an extensive network of relationships in both the creative and corporate worlds. She has over 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur, working in theatre and live event production, promotion, sponsorship, B2B and B2C sales and marketing, creative development, literary management and creative coaching in the entertainment business. Joanne ‘s creative coaching business evolved out of her work as a manager of playwrights and screenwriters – guiding their careers and helping them to pursue their passions in what is well known as an often difficult, changeable and sometimes arbitrary business. Through her company Zip Creative, she works with clients helping them to open themselves up to their creative capacity, build a solid foundation from which to make authentic work and life decisions and take practical action on them. For more information go to www.zipcreative.net. Joanne graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and did graduate work at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She is a graduate of the Hoffman Institute.

Producers
  • MARGOT ASTRACHAN

    is a Tony Award winning commercial theatrical producer based in New York. Broadway: Diana, A New Musical, The Prom, Tony Award winning A Gentleman's Guide to Love and MurderThe Realistic JonesesNice Work If You Can Get It, the revival of On a Clear Day You Can See ForeverBonnie & ClydeBusker AlleyGhost the Musical National Tour, and the only staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Evening Primrose. She also produced The Sting starring Harry Connick Jr. at The Papermill Playhouse. Margot wrote, produced and performed five one-woman cabaret shows.  New York: Danny’s Skylight Room, Judy’s, The Plaza Hotel, The Oak Room of The Algonquin Hotel, the Triad, The National Arts Club, and Don’t Tell Mama’s, among others. With dancer/choreographer Carmen de Lavallade, she wrote the book of a new Jazz musical, which has been read at Lincoln Center and at The York Theater.Margot was the American Artistic Director of the Jermyn Street Theatre in London and The Kings Head Theatre in London, and has had over 30 years’ experience producing special events for Arts Organizations such as The York Theatre Company, The Theatre Museum, and Brit-Arts of The St. George’s Society, which with Jim Dale, featured British and American theatre professionals in readings and panels in New York. She is the Vice Chair of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF), a board member of The Alumni & Friends of The LaGuardia High School for the Arts, The League of Professional Theater Women, and The Theater Board of The Kaufman Cultural Center. She is a graduate of CTI (The Commercial Theatre Institute) and is a member of The Association of Performing Arts Presenters, The National Alliance For Musical Theatre, The Broadway League, The Dramatists Guild, the Advisory Board of TRU, British American Business, Inc. and BAFTA East Coast. She is the past chair and current board member of The American Friends of the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Her latest project is Radio Galaxy by Michele Aldin Kushner (found in the TRU Voices series) and directed by Mark Waldrop, currently in development.

  • PATRICK BLAKE

    is a writer/producer based in New York and San Francisco, and Founding Artistic Director of Rhymes Over Beats, a hip hop theater company. In New York theater, he is a producer of the off-Broadway revival of The 39 Steps, the off-Broadway transfer of Bedlam Theater Company's dual productions of Hamlet and Saint Joan, and is currently producing My Life Is a Musical (from the TRU Voices series) which had a debut production at Bay Street Theatre. He was one of the producers of Play Dead! at The Players Theatre, he has produced In the Continuum at Perry Street Theatre, Noah's Archive, Joe Fearless, The Exonerated (Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Court TV's Scales of Justice Award) and The Soap Myth at Southstreet Seaport. He also produced Dirty Works at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He was Executive Producer for the short film, The Igloo, and the feature film Mr. Smith Gets a Hustler. Patrick is a proud board member of TRU.

  • CHARLOTTE COHN

    was born in Denmark and raised in Israel where she served in the Israeli Army as a commanding officer. She was the lead producer of The NY Times critics’ pick Handle With Care and the critically acclaimed Church & State, both written by Jason Odell Williams. Directing highlights include Best Friends at JAZZ at Lincoln Center and Church & State at Berkshire Theatre Group. Acting highlights include La Boheme and Coram Boy on Broadway. Charlotte is an Ovation Award Winner and was nominated for the Bay Area Critics’ Circle Award for her performance as ‘Hallelujah Lil’ in Happy End at A.C.T. For more please visit:  www.charlottecohn.com

  • MERRIE L. DAVIS

    Producer  (New York, London) & Out-of-the-Box Marketer… Merrie is an Olivier Award Winner for Company, West End (Winner of 4 Olivier awards including Best Musical Revival 2019) and Tony nominated producer for Eclipsed with Lupita Nyong’o (6 Tony nominations). She is currently a producer on Company, Broadway. Her producing career began with Gigi the Musical, Himself and Nora, with Matt Bogart (Jersey Boys) and Whitney Bashor (The Bridges of Madison County). Since coming into the New York theatre world she has been investing and raising money for shows including: Dear Evan Hansen, To Kill a Mockingbird, Hello, Dolly!, The Band's Visit, Network among  others. In addition to producing, she is an Out-of-the Box Marketer who founded Next Act 2 Follow, a producing/marketing company, utilizing her unique marketing skills and introducing inventive ideas to the Broadway scene on shows including, Allegiance and 39 Steps. Prior to making a career change into producing, Merrie had been a Publisher and Out-of-the-Box Marketer for over 25+ years in the magazine world dealing in the Hospitality and Tourism industries. While owning her own Visitor Magazines, IN New York and WHERE that were distributed in the hotels, she also had the pleasure of working with all the theater agencies.  Merrie is on the Board of TRU and the Broadway Association and is still delighted that she took the giant leap into an industry that she had always loved!!! 

  • SHARON FALLON

    Sharon Fallon, Sharon Fallon Productions is an independent Theatre Producer, General Manager, and Theatrical Consultant.  Having worked in both the commercial and non-profit theatre industry for over 20 years, she brings a unique perspective to her work.  In 2015 she created a boutique theatrical production/general management company with a mission to bridge the gap between art and business, allowing productions to be financially viable and artistically satisfying, and successful.  Taking a holistic approach – from page to stage and everything in between, she works directly with early-career producers and artist-driven niche projects (showcases, readings, early development workshops, etc.) as well as larger union and non-union projects. In addition to producing commercially, Sharon served as the Associate General Manager of both the Helen Hayes Theatre and Lyric Theatre in New York. She is currently the Executive Producer of MotherFreakingHood and has a number of new works that are in development.  Broadway credits include IndecentBeautiful (Broadway, London & National Tour), Matilda The Musical, and Lysistrata Jones. Sharon is a member of the NAMT, the National Association of Musical Theatres, and serves on the New Work Festival Committee. 
  • WILLIAM FRANZBLAU

    created and produced the recent Broadway Rocktopia, the Tony Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, produced David Mamet’s American Buffalo on Broadway, and the tour of Little House on the Prairie the Musical starring Melissa Gilbert. He also served as the Executive and Lead Producer for Broadway’s Wonderland. He licensed and produced the off-Broadway shows, SISTAS the Musical (recently shot and broadcast on BET, now in its sixth year off Broadway), This One's for the Girls, Jewtopia, Evil Dead the Musical, the male intellect: an oxymoron, Respect and ILuminate (America’s Got Talent Finalist) while developing several Broadway shows including Paramount’s Crazy People and the new Rupert Holmes play, Kennedy/Reagan. He produced and Co-Directed Rocktopia for the 2016 PBS National Pledge Broadcast with a 2017 tour. As Chief Executive Officer of the high technology company, KATrix Inc. he created strategic alliances with the Walt Disney Company, Microsoft Corporation, MGM and the Intel Corporation. In the early nineties, Mr. Franzblau co-founded Interfilm Inc., a publicly traded company combining interactive technologies with cinematic art. He was the driving force in putting together an $18 million initial public offering underwritten by Smith Barney and subsequently facilitated the sale of the company via a reverse triangular merger with Palatin Technologies, Inc. From 1990 through 1992 Mr. Franzblau served as producer of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles touring show, a 21-month tour involving 500 appearances in 200 cities and 10 countries, for which he managed all aspects of the business development and operations. The tours grossed over $60 million in sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandising as well as spinning off a double platinum record and a national pay-per-view. Previous to the above Mr. Franzblau served as Executive Producer of three tours of the Moscow Circus on Broadway and North America and produced the touring productions of BEATLEMANIA. In 2021 he produced MANSlaughter (episodic podcast) which reached  # 1 podcast in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. 

  • SUZANNE GILAD

    was the lead producer of the award-winning hit musical The Other Josh Cohen, at the Westside Theatre. Sue’s recent Broadway credits include Moulin Rouge!, Jagged Little Pill, Angels in America (Tony Award winner for Best Revival of a Play), Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812M. Butterfly,  Disaster! and Significant Other. She is the co-founder of InFineCompany.comBroadwayCustom.com, and CustomBroadway.com, which provides individualized, Broadway-level concerts and shows for theaters and Performing Arts centers around the world. Sue’s career started with voiceovers for TV, film, radio and Broadway. Sue is the Co-Chair on the Leadership Council of Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS. Her favorite gig is playing the Voice of God for the Broadway Cares’ annual Broadway Backwards benefit. Before entering the world of producing, she was an entrepreneur. Sue is the co-author of The Real Estate Millionaire (McGraw-Hill) and author of Copyediting and Proofreading for Dummies (Wiley).  She is the creator of PaidToProofread.com, which sells books and video programs. Sue is a mom of three very active kids who promise not to become performers.

  • JOHN LANT

    (Creative Producer / Artistic Director / Consultant) 40-year veteran in the entertainment in over 700 television, film, theatre/music tours, and live theater. Pre-Covid: Production Manager at Carnegie Hall since 2006-2020 season for over 2,000 events. Award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer at Interlochen, Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Powerhouse, Glendale Center, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, the Jewel Box Theatre Center and Write Act Repertory garnering DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA, NAACP Awards, LA Weekly and Backstage Pick of the Week, Garland and Valley Theatre (LA) nods. Executive Producer New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind 150 original Radio Dramas for SIRIUS/XM Radio's Sonic Theatre - Ranked #1 Radio show. Mentored with Jonathan Sanger & Chanticleer Films for two shorts that won an Emmy and an Oscar, Howard Storm CBS Radford and TRU PDMP Master fellow under Jane Dubin and Jennifer Issacson.  Directed TV / Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, BET JAZZ Master Awards (1&2), Toronto Independent Shorts Awards, Funiki-Jam Season 2, and Anonymous Confessions. 14 Off-Broadway Lead Producing (union and non-union) credits include FABULOUS! 2By Tennessee WilliamsLili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, Teen Party Massacre, SWING!, Wicked City Blues, Great Cat Massacre, GEEKS! (St. Luke's & Actors Temple). Recent Pre-COVID LA productions: Finest Hour (Winston Churchill), Wicked Wicked Mae West, The Lester Young Story, and Frank and Eva. TV/Film Credits include King of New York, The Freshman, Army of Darkness, Renegade, Power Rangers, and HBO Max's The Flight Attendant (CCO Supervisor). Tours include Phantom of the Opera, Singin' in the Rain, Gypsy, and EvitaCurrent Off-Broadway pre-production Pearl Bailey Musical (with Tony winning team members of Dreamgirls! and Hamilton). Development Director/Consultant - Twisted Media NYC, Nathan Murphy Prod, Gatehouse Entertainment, Tin Mirror Prod and Trinity Theatrics for new network and streaming content. COVID Compliance Officer for Film/TV/Theatre.

  • JENNIFER MANOCHERIAN

    Credits include Meteor Shower, Nice Work If You Can Get It; Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson; Dead Accounts; The Mountaintop; A Little Night Music; La Cage aux Folles; The Norman Conquests; The 39 Steps; August: Osage County; Spring Awakening;The Little Dog Laughed; Caroline, or Change; Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom; Thoroughly Modern Millie; The Crucible; Jane Eyre; Stomp.

  • TAMRA PICA

    producer and casting director for Write Act Repertory, and the new Park Performing Arts Center’s (PPAC) in Union City, NJ. Tamra's theater and television work spans 33 years and over 250 productions as a prop designer, AEA Stage Manager, producer and casting director of plays, musicals, dance and ice shows. She produces both Off Broadway, as well as, managing the Los Angeles theater presence for Write Act.  Recent credits include the long-running Frankenstein, Wicked City Blues, and Swing.  Other credits include: Lili Marlene, Caldwell’s Bomb for the New York Venus/Adonis Theater Festival, RenewalYour Name on My Lips at Theater for the New City and the long running musical Fabulous! Queen of the New Musicals where she served as a casting director and producer.  Alongside theater, Tamra’s work production, casting, and development television work can be seen for companies such as Disney, Sony, Cartoon Network, NBC Studios, TBS, CBS, MTV, ABC and FOX.  She currently works on the animated Disney series Mira, Royal Detective.

  • JONATHAN POLLARD

    began his theatrical producing career in 1996 when he produced, I Love You,You're Perfect, Now Change at the Westside Theatre. Available in fourteen languages and grossing over $100 million worldwide, I Love You... stands as the longest running musical revue in theatre history, having run for over 5,000 performances Off-Broadway. He received the 2008 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Solo Show for his production of Dai and the New York Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Off-Broadway musical in 2004 for The Thing About Men. He also produced Over the River and Through the Woods, which ran for two years Off-Broadway, and Disenchanted! which ran at the Theatre @ St. Clements and the Westside Theatre in 2014 and 2015. He made his Broadway producing debut in 2005 with the Elvis Presley tuner, All Shook Up. He began his professional career in broadcasting at ABC News, after which he spent ten years in the electronic publishing business, developing and managing startup businesses for Ziff Communications Company, American Express, America Online, and other Fortune 500 companies.

  • MARKUS POTTER

    is a theatre director, Producer, and Professor of Theatre at the University of Kansas, where he also serves as Artistic Director of the Kansas Repertory Theatre. He is the Founding Producing Artistic Director of NewYorkRep, and previously served as Interim Artistic Director of Theatre Aspen. Key directing projects include Stalking the Bogeyman off-Broadway at New World Stages (Outer Critics Circle Award nomination, NYTimes critics pick), London’s Southwark Playhouse (Off West End Award nomination for best production and direction), Red Speedo by Lucas Hnath at Center Rep, Lost Boy Found In Whole Foods by Tammy Ryan at The Portland Stage Company, Why You Beasting? (Time Out NY critic's pick), As an actor: Guthrie Theatre, Long Wharf, Berkeley Rep, ACT, Denver Center, tour of Death of a Salesman with Christopher Lloyd. As Producer: The Velocity of Autumn on Broadway (Estelle Parsons's Tony Award nomination). SDC and AEA member. MFA Columbia University. MarkusPotter.com

  • STEPHANIE GRAYSON

    was the Associate Producer of Kevin McDonald Alive on 42nd St, on Theatre Row, summer of 2019. She serves on the Board of Directors for Prospect Theater Co. (2016-present), and has been a social media strategy/marketing advisor for arts organizations since 2008, advising theater and festival producers.
     
  • ERIC B. SIROTA

    is a composer/playwright of musical theatre (and physicist).  His Frankenstein played Off-Broadway at St. Luke’s Theatre for 3 years.  Currently developing A Good Day, about music, memory an old flame and Alzheimer’s, written when he was awarded the Denis Diderot Artists-in-Residence grant.  His Your Name On My Lips was produced by Theater for the New City;  Go, My Child is in development;  A Day at the White House recorded as a podcast.  Member of TRU, in the PDMP.  Resident composer/writer at Write Act Rep.  On the team restoring the Park Theatre in Union City, NJ.   www.EricSirota.com

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